CM Storm Stryker Case Review

BluePanda - 2012-08-05 16:45:40 in Cases
Category: Cases
Reviewed by: BluePanda   
Reviewed on: September 13, 2012
Price: $159.99

Introduction:

Cooler Master is still one of my favorite case companies and the go to team for a solidly built case. I still love my old HAF 932 BE and I have gotten my hands on some pretty nice cases for review from CM as well. Today, however, we will be experiencing some déjà vu; some of you may remember a specific Cooler Master case, the CM Storm Trooper. I reviewed it back in October of 2011, so almost a year ago. On this lovely day we'll be taking an up-close and personal look at its milky sibling. Many of you, as well as myself, had expected a "Trooper" to be a white case with black accents to play off our favorite enemy troops; though the amazing black beauty of a case didn't disappoint. After a little work, the CM team decided to come out with a white version after all: the CM Storm Stryker.

At CES last year, I met with some members of the CM team where we discussed the Trooper, as well as the Stryker. At the time, the concepts were still being debated as exactly what the company would do – whether it would be an exact replica in white or if there would be a bit of style change done with the case. The big question on the table then was glossy or matte finish. I opted for the matte of course, but with it here today, it seems the glossy fans outnumbered me. CM had some difficulties at the time with color matching the different white painted parts, but it seems CM got it right. Let's take a look at this Stryker case and see what differences there actually are between it and its slightly aged sibling, the Trooper. For those of you who need a refresher on the Trooper, here's a link.

Closer Look:

In essence, the box is the same as before, with a few modifications: an image of the case on the lettering below "CM STORM STRYKER", as well as a "High Speed USB 3.0 and 2.5" SSD support" sticker that takes up the upper-right portion of the box, while a massive tank takes on the near-watermarked background. Turning it around to the back side, there are eight different languages bragging about some of the features. The uber white fans really stand out to me and I'm looking forward to getting a real look at them. Both the frame and blades are white, making them really pop out against some of the black in the case. It still has the sturdy handle on top and just about all the features from the Trooper…it's just white.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’m happy to have a box with handles again – a lot of cases these days seem to be shipped in boxes without handles. This being a heavier case, I appreciate a method for getting it in the house without unpacking it first. The sides of the box, beyond the handle holds, go on to list specifications and provide another look at the case. It also has the marking for exactly what case you ordered: mine says it's the "without window side panel" model (the other options are all PSU options).

 

 

Cutting open the box, I'm a bit closer to seeing the whiteness of the beast. I slice it open with a knife and find a nice little plastic-wrapped case with foam end caps. The weight of the case itself is a bit heavier than I recalled, but pulling it out of the box was a little easier with the handle on top. I only wish I were a bit taller to clear the box. However, I was surprised to find that I did indeed get the windowed version of the case and not as the box was marked. Bonus!

 

 

Enough with the packing already – I'm sure most of you are ready to see the case now. So let's get to it!

Closer Look:

Out of the box, it is much like any other CM case I've dealt with – solid and sturdy. It's something you could make a chair out of or a nice end table. It's well built and has a bit of weight to it to prove it. It does look much like the Trooper and I hate to keep talking about the Trooper, but that is what it is – really just a white version with a different name. The windowed side panel gives a nice view to see what is going on inside. You can practically see your full motherboard, which makes it easy to look for LED codes when trouble arises. You can also show off what you have – or what you don't have. There is a little bit of doubled over mesh to allow air movement through on the HDD fans and keep flow through the case. The back side has the same double mesh pattern to allow the flow, literally, through the case. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The front of the case looks a little more trooper-esque to me. The raised handled and grooved "head" really puts on a mask that gets me in the mood to watch a little Empire Strikes Back tonight. It is a really clean look and despite my hate for glossy cases, I'm finding a liking to this one. The back has three grommet ports for water tubes or whatever you may need to route in or out of the case. A 140mm white fan is mounted stock with the case, but if you felt the need to downsize, there are holes for a 120mm fan as well (which works nicely with single-bay water reservoirs). The PCIe slots have a nice black accented finish and really make the case what it is. Same with the "Storm Guard" to protect your valuable peripherals from thieves (it at least makes them work a bit more for it).

 

 

The case looks really nice from just about every angle. Even cutting off the bottom edge in this first shot makes you smile at the case. The top portion of the case really makes it what it is. The prominent handle that swoops off to vented holes, a well-blended white paint job, and neat black-accented buttons/controls. It's a sexy little thing and you know it. Moving in a little closer, you can see the neat, almost hidden, X-dock. It's a quick hot-swap bay for you SSD lovers – that to me is wondrous. I do apologize, however, for the bubbled plastic still on the little door flap – I couldn't seem to get the plastic off prior to snapping the photo. The front I/O panel is where I found my first difference between the Styrker and Trooper. You can even see the blank space that makes it blatantly obvious. There is no longer an eSATA port up here on the front – no big deal really, but I'm surprised at the loss. The rest is the same, with the audio ports, 2 x USB 3.0, 2 x USB 2.0, and reset switch. The massive power button with smiley face fan controller remains – you can see this powered on just a bit further.

 

 

Looking at the top of the case, you can finally see all the mesh and cutouts I've been talking about. The handle there has some serous grip with a rubber feel and little finger ridges like a golf club. It feels tough and durable, and I have a feeling it'll be there for a long time. Stryker is carefully printed on the center peak of the case, just behind the handle. The blacked out mesh openings make for a really nice touch on top here. I'm seeing some serious modding options already – simply changing mesh colors can give this case a whole new feel.

 

 

Continuing down the back end of the case, there seems to be a handle-like structure sticking out. Recalling from the Trooper, it isn't a handle – well at least not a carrying handle. A slight tug and it reveals itself as a fan filter for the massive top fan – easy to clean and put right back in. For once you might actually clean out the dust bunnies from your case. It is really easy to slide in and out, so there are no excuses to your case being "gunked" up. There are even a couple filters on the bottom of the case to help with the same issue (I'll show you those a little later).

 

 

There's a lot to the Stryker – I've shown you most of the outside features, so let's get a look inside. Move to the next page for more!

Closer Look:

The inside of the case is nicely finished with the same exterior white. Black has been added for accent with the PCIe slot covers, grommets, and HDD/SSD bays. The all-white fans really pop on the HDD cage and the other two white fans blend in as if undercover. There is a hodgepodge of cable mess hanging there, but if you unbind it, it really isn't as bad as it looks. First you've got cabling for the fan controller, so you can control other fans besides the case fans. Rotating it around to see behind the motherboard tray, you'll find a lot of pre-wired cabling through the grommets. If you're like me, you'll change this very quickly so it adheres better to a "real" setup and it'll be clean in no time. The HDD bay inserts are shipped in a little box for you to add – otherwise it looks empty yet completely air-movement worthy from this side. A reminder for those of you who don't know the Trooper: these HDD cages can be rotated 90 degrees to blow air length-wise through the case, if you so desire.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Looking down here on the back side of the case, you can see there is plenty of cable space between the motherboard tray and the actual panel itself. There is quite a bit more room near the HDD cages to stash any mess you might want. The HDD cages look quite empty on their own, but it really shows you how much air can actually move through the case. There are two cages that hold four drives each. A separate cage on the "floor" of the case (see further down the page) can support up to four SSDs.

 

 

A little brown box was twist-tied in place in the external drive bay area. Inside the box, rather than the usual screws and case manual, are the HDD mounts. They are simple little plastic things that flex well enough to get a drive in, but not so much that there's no support. The nubs have rubber dampeners to reduce vibrational noise. They slide into the HDD cages quite nicely and don't really take much effort to move in or out. The end tabs bow outward a little to lock them in place – so pulling them out requires only a little squeeze action. They look really nice, even without a drive in them. Though there is theoretically more airflow without them in the case, if I don't "store" them here, I won't have them when I need them. So they will stay here for testing as well.

 

 

 

A little closer shot of the little SSD cage at the floor of the case shows room for four SSDs to mount with screws. There are plenty of screws to mount things in this case, we just haven't gotten to their secret location yet (those of you with a Trooper already know where they are). Looking a little closer to the fans mounted to the HDD cages, they are indeed very white. The fan frame is even a glossy white to match the case theme. The blades are also glossy white with a nice smooth finish. They just really look nice in the case and the full white look was a very nice move on Cooler Master's part. The rear 140mm fan is just as amazingly white, and with the white case around it, it shows even more how white it really is. It blends right in with the case as if it belonged all along. This is something black on black just can't perform – it's perfect camouflage.

 

 

Way tucked up under the top of the case – and rather hard to get a picture of actually – is the back side of the front docking station. If you plan on ever using the X-dock to hot-swap any SSD, you'll need to get your big hands back in there to plug in a power and SATA cable. It’s well hidden and not part of the cable mess – so if you go to use it and it’s not working, don’t panic, you probably forgot to plug it in.

 

 

One of my favorite features about the CM Trooper, as well as an integral role of this CM Stryker, is the nifty little hidden compartment at the bottom of the case. No more searching for screws and case parts when your newly ordered hardware shows up. There's a neat little bay with all your goodies. Getting to it isn't very hard either. Behind the shiny CM Storm plate is a little box that is held in with two screws. Unscrew them and slide the box right out – couldn't be easier. And speaking of ease, the whole front comes off in segments allowing you to add new external drives, or even HDDs (if you've got the cages rotated). This idea was well thought out and you definitely don't feel like you are breaking things putting the pieces on or taking them off.

 

 

 

If you pull that compartment out all the way, a little lid pops off the top with little effort. Inside you can find the massive amount of included screws for everything you may want to put in place, some zip ties to help with cable management, drive adapters, an 8-pin extender (it's a tall case), and a motherboard speaker to play with. All this fits neatly in the little box with room for any extra parts you want to keep for building your rig. All your extra PCIe slot covers can fit in here to put back later when you get tired of running multiple cards or when you're upgrading components.

 

 

Lying the case down, we can get a good look at the feet and additional fan filters on the bottom of the case. The feet are solidly attached with a single screw through the bottom, sunk deep inside the foot to keep you from tearing up the floors. The fan filters on the bottom slide out just as easy as the top filter and can be completely removed if for some reason you need to rinse them off or take them outside to shake out the dust. It's a nice design that I’m very happy with. Can't wait to get it all filled up to see how well the Stryker can strike down the heat. Wow, that's trying too hard – too punny and not funny.

 

 

 

Hardware in, it's deja vu again; just this time it's a little white. There's plenty of room in the case for even more, if I had more to put in. I think it still looks a bit empty. It was relatively easy to keep it a clean build and there wasn't too much difficulty "installing" any of my hardware. The SSD, was a little bit of a challenge as the cage for it to mount it with four screws requires you to remove the cage completely. The cables are also hard to plug in after re-installing the cage, so if you can remember, plug it in first. I just really like the way it looks and it was far from being a pain to work with. Even prior to plugging the case in, it looked pretty bad ass. Powering it up only made it look even better with a slight red glow at the power button/fan controller area – it stands to show off a little of its "evil" side.

 

 

 

The fans on the HDD cages light up in a nice pure white LED color, not some silly yellowed color. It looks really nice and, since the fan themselves are white, they really pop. The side window is a great improvement from the CM Storm Trooper. I've always liked windowed cases, at least while there is ample room for cable management. You can get a good peak at what is going on inside and look for red flags when things don't seem to be working quite right. Overall, the case is just really good looking. I might have to leave this one built for awhile to enjoy it a bit more.

 

Specifications:

Model:
SGC-5000W-KWN1
Color:
Black and White
Material:
Appearance: Synthetic, mesh front bezel;
Case body: Steel
Dimensions:
250 x 605.6 x 578.5 mm
Motherboard Support:
Micro-ATX, ATX, XL-ATX
I/O Panel:
USB 3.0 x 2 (internal), USB 2.0 x 2, Audio In and Out (supports HD Audio)
External Connections:
USB 3.0 x 2 ,USB 2.0 x 2, e-SATA x 1, HD Audio
5.25” Bay Slots:
9
3.5” Bay Slots:
Up to 8 (converted 5.25")
2.5” Bay Slots :
Up to 13 (converted 5.25")
Expansion Slots:
9+1
PSU Support:
ATX PS2/EPS 12V
Max. Compatibility:
VGA Card Length: 322.0 mm
CPU Cooler Height: 186.0 mm
UPC Code:
884102017179

 

Features:

 

Cooling:

 

Clearances:

 

 

All information provided by: http://www.coolermaster-usa.com/product.php?product_id=3099

Testing:

Testing the CM Storm Stryker full tower case required pushing my hardware to heat things up! Testing involved recording temperatures for the CPU, GPU, chipset, hard drives, and overall system during idle and load phases.

Load was simulated by running Prime95’s small FFTs while also running 3Dmark Vantage for one hour. The maximum temperatures were recorded using HW Monitor. It is important to note that each case is tested from its factory setup, including location of fans, unless otherwise noted.

 

Testing Setup:

 

Comparison Cases:

 

 

Results:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So the Stryker did well with its size in cooling as expected. Anytime I get a big case in, I tend to expect it to cool better than a tiny one with all my hardware packed closely; more open space means more room for airflow. The CPU and chipset were about average, sitting just at the lower end of the pack. The GPU temps were what really impressed me; the temperatures were some of the lowest I've seen yet. I'm guessing the fans pushing air through the case and through the HDD cages are the cause of this. This blows the air across the end of the card getting rid of any heat it can at the end of the card there. The fact is, that it does an AWESOME job cooling and that is what matters.

Conclusion:

In the end, this case is essentially the same as the CM Storm Trooper – the only difference is really the fact that is white. The eSATA port has also been removed from the front I/O panel of the case, but this isn't a deal breaker, as I can't say that I've used one in a long time, if ever. The price is up there with some of the "higher" models, but at $159.99 it isn't too much for what you really get. It is a slight premium to the cost of the Trooper at the moment, but in my opinion it looks more like the true Imperial side that I expected in the first release. The structure of the case is very solid and I'd find it quite the challenge for you to find a way to break this one down very quickly. It is going to stand up to many hardware changes and all your abuse for an extended period of time; you will probably get tired of it before it gets tired of you. The handle makes it easier to carry room to room, but overall the case is somewhat a heavyweight. For short little me, picking up the case requires a bent elbow, where for most of you, you'll be able to squat down and straight arm it. The window gives me some concern with banging up against your leg if you carry in on that side, but in reality, just turn the case around to avoid it. The window is always a plus in my eyes, as you can show off what a clean build you have, or for some of you, the haphazard mess you make when building. Overall, the CM Storm Stryker is a heck of a case. It's much like its sister CM Storm Trooper, just in another color option. And despite the glossy finish after voicing my much preferred matte finish at CES, I'm satisfied.

 

Pros:

 

Cons: